2021

Vehicle Health Index

Published by CarMD, April 2021

Highlights

The following is a breakdown of the five most common check engine light-related repairs in 2020 and the average cost to make that repair, including parts and labor. Each of these issues will keep a vehicle from passing its state emissions test and negatively impact fuel economy if ignored.

  1. Replace catalytic converter(s) with new OE catalytic converter(s), $1,383
  2. Replace oxygen sensor(s), $243
  3. Replace ignition coil(s) and spark plug(s), $389
  4. Replace mass air flow sensor, $336
  5. Tighten or replace fuel cap, $25

• In 2020 car repair costs were down 1.6% overall at an average of $378.77. Labor costs were down 2.8% year-over-year from 2019 to 2020, and parts costs were down about 1%. Many factors likely played a role in this decrease, including the economy, competition among repair shops and an increase in DIY automotive repairs during the pandemic. CarMD anticipates an increase in parts costs next year given the material shortage resulting from shutdown-related supply chain issues.


• New this year CarMD broke down the Index by vehicle model year. Model year 2007 vehicles were most likely to need check engine light repairs, accounting for 9.9% of problems seen by CarMD across all models last year. The most commonly diagnosed repair on a 2007 vehicle was “replace ignition coil(s) and spark plug(s).” Not surprisingly, vehicles that are less than 3 years old didn’t experience many check engine light issues, accounting for fewer than 1% of needed repairs reported to CarMD.


• CarMD’s data reports an increase in mass air flow sensors (MAF sensors) needing replacement, while fuel cap issues continue to trend down. MAF sensors moved from the no. 5 to the no. 4 most common repair. Gas cap issues dropped again moving from the no. 4 to no. 5 most frequent repair. This and other national and regional trend data in the full report can inform automotive parts suppliers, aftermarket retail buyers and other industry experts as they extrapolate year-over-year and trends related to vehicle diagnostic data and related parts failures.

Wait, there’s more


If you’re interested in more info on the current state of vehicle health, download the PDF below. What you see on this page is only about 10% of all the info we have to offer – don’t miss the rest!


Stats


Rank Vehicle Repair Total Average Repair
Cost
(Parts & Labor)
% 2020
Repairs
  Change in Rank
Since 2019
1 Replace Catalytic Converter(s) with new OE Catalytic Converter(s) $1,383.29 5.65% No change
2 Replace Oxygen Sensor(s) (O2S) $243.61 5.57% No change
3 Replace Ignition Coil(s) and Spark Plug(s) $389.43 5.32% No change
4 Replace Mass Air Flow (MAF) Sensor $336.37 4.51% from no. 5
5 Inspect for Loose Fuel Cap and Tighten or Replace as Necessary $25.01 4.44% from no. 4
6 Replace Ignition Coil(s) $214.83 3.97% No change
7 Replace Evaporative Emissions (EVAP) Purge Control Valve $142.10 3.57% No change
8 Replace Fuel Injector(s) $448.41 2.67% No change
9 Replace Thermostat $236.33 2.27% from no. 10
10 Replace Evaporative Emissions (EVAP) Purge Solenoid $148.81 2.22% from no. 9

(Ten most common vehicle repairs are based on 13,944,931 repairs recommended in calendar year 2020 on 1996-current model year vehicles. This data applies to > 85% of cars, light trucks, minivans, SUVs and hybrids on the road in the U.S. – foreign and domestic. Source: CarMD.com Corp.)

Rank Vehicle Repair Total Average Repair Cost in the West (Parts & Labor) % 2018 Western U.S. Repairs   Change in Western Rank
Since 2019
1 Replace Catalytic Converter(s) with new OE Catalytic Converter(s) $1,452.48 5.77% No change
2 Replace Oxygen Sensor(s) (O2S) $256.23 5.33% No change
3 Replace Mass Air Flow (MAF) Sensor $351.17 5.10% from no. 4
4 Replace Ignition Coil(s) and Spark Plug(s) $389.78 4.82% from no. 5
5 Inspect for Loose Fuel Cap and Tighten or Replace as Necessary $25.43 4.59% from no. 3
6 Replace Ignition Coil(s) $218.62 3.99% No change
7 Replace Evaporative Emissions (EVAP) Purge Control Valve $146.18 3.06% No change
8 Replace Fuel Injector(s) $477.30 2.52% No change
9 Replace Thermostat $235.97 2.37% No change
10 Replace Evaporative Emissions (EVAP) Purge Solenoid $152.19 1.94% Not listed in 2019

(Ten most common vehicle repairs in the Western U.S. are based on 4,006,026 repairs in 2020 in AK, AZ, CA, CO, HI, ID, MT, NM, NV, OR, UT, WA and WY. This data applies to roughly 85% of cars, light trucks, minivans and SUVs on the road in the U.S. – foreign and domestic. Source: CarMD.com Corp.)

Rank Vehicle Repair Total Average Repair Cost in the Midwest (Parts & Labor) % 2020 Midwest U.S. Repairs Change in Midwest Rank Since 2019
1 Replace Oxygen Sensor(s) (O2S) $230.28 5.84% No Change
2 Replace Catalytic Converter(s) with new OE Catalytic Converter(s) $1,337.12 5.39% No Change
3 Replace Ignition Coil(s) and Spark Plug(s) $390.83 4.60% from no. 4
4 Inspect for Loose Fuel Cap and Tighten or Replace as Necessary $24.91 4.50% from no. 3
5 Replace Evaporative Emissions (EVAP) Purge Control Valve $138.43 4.12% No Change
6 Replace Mass Air Flow (MAF) Sensor $310.79 3.94% No Change
7 Replace Ignition Coil(s) $215.83 3.30% No Change
8 Replace Fuel Injector(s) $447.97 2.91% from no. 9
9 Replace Evaporative Emissions (EVAP) Purge Solenoid $144.06 2.73% from no. 8
10 Replace Thermostat $235.49 2.30% No Change

(Ten most common vehicle repairs in the Midwestern U.S. are based on 2,935,693 repairs in 2020 in IA, IL, IN, KS, MI, MN, MO, ND, NE, OH, SD and WI. This data applies to roughly 85% of cars, light trucks, minivans and SUVs on the road in the U.S. – foreign and domestic. Source: CarMD.com Corp.)

Rank Vehicle Repair Total Average Repair Cost in the NE (Parts & Labor) % 2020 NE U.S. Repairs Change in NE Rank Since 2019
1 Replace Oxygen Sensor(s) (O2S) $261.45 6.29% No change
2 Replace Catalytic Converter(s) with new OE Catalytic Converter(s) $1,343.74 6.19% No change
3 Inspect for Loose Fuel Cap and Tighten or Replace as Necessary $23.46 5.81% No change
4 Replace Ignition Coil(s) and Spark Plug(s) $382.70 4.74% No change
5 Replace Mass Air Flow (MAF) Sensor $337.15 4.55% No change
6 Replace Ignition Coil(s) $218.84 3.97% No change
7 Replace Evaporative Emissions (EVAP) Purge Control Valve $146.09 3.96% No change
8 Replace Evaporative Emissions (EVAP) Purge Solenoid $148.09 2.45% No change
9 Replace Fuel Injector(s) $433.09 2.24% No change
10 Replace Thermostat $242.24 2.11% No change

(Ten most common vehicle repairs in the Northeastern U.S. are based on 1,643,451 repairs in 2020 in CT, MA, ME, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI and VT. This data applies to roughly 85% of cars, light trucks, minivans and SUVs on the road in the U.S. – foreign and domestic. Source: CarMD.com Corp.)

Rank Vehicle Repair Total Average Repair Cost in the South (Parts & Labor) % 2020 Southern U.S. Repairs Change in Southern U.S. Rank Since 2019
1 Replace Ignition Coil(s) and Spark Plug(s) $389.90 5.96% from no.2
2 Replace Catalytic Converter(s) with new OE Catalytic Converter(s) $1,368.40 5.76% from no. 1
3 Replace Oxygen Sensor(s) (O2S) $240.46 5.32% No change
4 Replace Mass Air Flow (MAF) Sensor $336.13 4.59% No change
5 Replace Ignition Coil(s) $212.21 4.27% from no. 6
6 Inspect for Loose Fuel Cap and Tighten or Replace as Necessary $25.21 4.14% from no. 5
7 Replace Evaporative Emissions (EVAP) Purge Control Valve $140.46 3.48% No change
8 Replace Fuel Injector(s) $437.07 2.80% No change
9 Replace Thermostat $233.56 2.24% No change
10 Replace Evaporative Emissions (EVAP) Purge Solenoid $149.99 2.02% No change

(Ten most common vehicle repairs in the Southern U.S. are based on 6,080,621 repairs in 2020 in AL, AR, DC, DE, FL, GA, KY, LA, MD, MS, NC, OK, TN, VA, SC, TX and WV. This data applies to roughly 85% of cars, light trucks, minivans and SUVs on the road in the U.S. – foreign and domestic. Source: CarMD.com Corp.)

2020’s repair costs …

Year Labor Parts Total Avg. Repair Cost
2009 $138.37 $221.13 $359.50
2010 $143.61 $212.44 $356.05
2011 $118.61 $215.32 $333.93
2012 $138.96 $228.88 $367.84
2013 $157.23 $235.26 $392.49
2014 $161.61 $228.77 $390.38
2015 $155.15 $232.16 $387.31
2016 $162.46 $235.41 $397.87
2017 $141.16 $216.29 $357.45
2018 $157.04 $223.81 $380.85
2019 $148.26 $236.64 $384.90
2020 $144.09 $234.68 $378.77

Source: CarMD.com Corp.

Region Total Average Repair Costs
(2019)
Total Average Repair
Costs
(2020)
% Increase/Decrease
From 2019 to 2020
South $392.47 $381.87 Down 2.7%
West $398.26 $396.82 Down 0.36%
Midwest $360.44 $354.88 Down 1.5%
Northeast $384.08 $375.68 Down 2.2%

Source: CarMD.com Corp.

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hoa2021 CarMD Vehicle Health Index